Thursday, September 15, 2011

Threats and expulsion in Hialeah

Most people couldn't believe their eyes and ears as they sat in Hialeah council chambers Thursday night and the misguided miscreant electeds ignored the pleas of residents and employees to reconsider the threatened firing of 105 of 266 firefighter paramedics in order to balance a bogus budget on their backs.

As I described what transpired to my family back home, les parecio fantasia. Of course, because it is yet another episode of "As Hialeah Churns." Unfortunately for the residents and the business leaders and the taxpayers and the employees and public servants, the reality is they cannot turn the TV off. All they can hope for is to change the channel in November. But that's more than 45 days away and plenty of time for Alcaldito Carlos Hernandez to exact his revenge on the firefighters, who endorsed his archenemy, former Mayor Raul Martinez, and his mentor/master Julio Robaina's archenemy, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who beat the former Hialeah mayor for the post in June. Su alcaldito's arrogant and disrespectful demeanor throughout the public hearing -- at which certain members of the public were scolded for speaking -- is something I've never seen in more than 20 years covering government.

I'm still in disbelief, several hours later, and have been slow to write this partial post because the whole pathetic episode has left me rather shaken and raw.

And not because Council President Isis "Gavelgirl" Garcia-Martinez had me ejected from the chambers and then from City Hall, as if it was her building. No. I left reeling because the very idea that 40 percent of the fire rescue force can be penciled out of the city is not only ludicrous because it is so dangerous, it is sick in its obvious political justification. Because the city electeds admit that they don't have to fire one single firefighter, if the union gives in to all its demands. Is this not extortion? Is this not blackmail? While it bothered me that I did not get to ask questions in the public forum about their misspending or to point out lies and discrepancies in their carefully prepared campaign speeches, Ladra wears the expulsion -- like the illegal trespass warning from last weekend's grand opening of the incumbents (minus one) campaign office -- like a badge of honor. Or a vanity dog tag? She can keep trying to get rid of me. I'll just furnish copies of my questions to others so they can ask for me. And, yes, in a public forum. I don't need to take credit for the question. I just need it to be answered directly and correctly, not with lies, half-truths taken out of context or complete wide-eyed silence, which they perfected Thursday.

From candidate and former mayor Julio Martinez: "How much will this raise insurance rates? As a taxpayer I want to know what my choices are. Is it between a $90 a year tax increase and a $300 insurance rate hike?" No answer from the council, which has seen no study or analysis of the impact this drastic cut in the fire rescue staff will have on insurance rates, response times and services. In 20 years covering government, Ladra has never seen a city consider even a 15 percent decrease in public safety personnel without doing a deep analysis of its consequences. And, duh. Someone else asked how many firefighters were required to meet the city's minimum needs. Still, no answer. Because they don't know. And Ladra might suggest that if the people of Hialeah can lose 105 firefighters, 40 percent of its force, without risking lives, then the council has been irresponsible in years past for approving a bloated fire department budget with too many positions. I was going to ask them this, too, before Gavelgirl had me removed from the chambers.

But if she thinks that's going to stop me, la pobre has had her big head stuck up Carlos' pants for too long and is losing oxygen. Ladra has come to love Hialeah -- the city and the people, not the government -- more and more every day and she is not going away, Gavelgirl. No matter how many times you push her. And no matter how many ways. Because now they are trying to discredit me or maybe embarrass me by digging up dirt from my somewhat reckless (read: incredibly divertida) youth. Because while I was illegally removed from a public meeting in a public building Thursday, since I did nothing wrong, I will have to admit to my readers -- since I want to preempt the alcaldito's attack strike -- that Ladra has not always been such a good dog. In fact, I used to hang out with a wild pack. And Gavelgirl and Su Alcaldito have apparently done some kind of investigation on me and found out about my checkered, colorful past. It's easy. I'm an open book. Transparency is a very clear thing, see?

One might think the alcaldito and Gavelgirl were busy enough campaigning against their own respective challengers and Professor Alex Morales, the former councilman sure to win the open seat in the November race. But they apparently have enough time and money (unless they used the taxpayer-funded police department) to do what campaign consultants call "opposition research" on Ladra, who isn't running for anything or from anybody. Since they have already taken to talking about their "juicy findings" with baited breath to anyone who will listen, Ladra feels she should let the rest of you in on my dirty, little secrets. I already told my parents, who should be sainted for having put up with me through all those dog days and who are the only people whose opinion on this public lynching attempt would have mattered (well, and the cohorts, and Candela), that these pseudo elected leaders were spreading the dirt on me. Mami y Papi support this decision to turn it back on them. In fact, my mom keeps saying she wants to have a little word with el alcaldito. And guess what, you cocky, crooked candidates? Those people whose ears you whisper my mud in, they come to me and laugh at your pathetic attempts to shoot the messenger because they know that you don't like the message. I must be saying and doing something right, just like Al Crespo is doing in the city of Miami. They tell me about every little wicked smile with which the electeds have disclosed these little details and say, "Can you believe these idiots think that kind of thing matters?" Just to prove to you that it doesn't, I'm going to take that wind out of your silly, smug sails.

What el alcaldito and Gavelgirl have been spreading about me is not lies, ladies and gentlemen. At least not all of it. Like I said, Ladra has walked on the wrong side of the tracks in the past, and in the late 1980s, I was arrested a couple of times, mostly because of my big mouth. One arrest, the most salient for the Hialeah chusmita council, was for misdemeanor marijuana possession in March of 1988 in Miami Beach. Not that a lot of you should be surprised. I did say that I had inhaled and that Ladra was a fan of Mother Nature when I wrote about a young county mayoral aide who had been popped buying weed. And I would lose all credibility if I were to deny that I may have smoked it myself, once or twice (wink, wink), including with people from this very political community -- people like, come to think of it, Vanessa Brito, who is working for el alcaldito and Gavelgirl and might have come up with this defamation strategy. It's okay. I'm a big girl and I can take it. If someone wants to discuss the merits of legalization, they'll have to wait until after November. Because I'm busy until then exposing the corruption and graft in Hialeah and do not have time to partake in any recreational activities, let alone debate it.

But there's more, dear readers. Brace yourselves. And I hope this doesn't decepcionarlos as much as today's hearing disappointed me in the democratic process, which is dead in Hialeah -- or, rather, has been murdered by the current elected body and their lackies. There are two other arrests -- one after another in June and July of 1987. The first was for disorderly conduct, battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence. And while I will fully admit to being disorderly -- which I am sure also does not surprise many -- the other two charges are trumped up because the female officer (read: fellow bitch) must have been on the rag when I interrupted her rendezvous at Wendy's with her boyfriend after my car broke down on the highway and, with a bladder infection, walked down the ramp to seek help. So, when she refused to help me, I noted the name and number on the badge and belligerently told her that she would be hearing from me. "That's right! You ain't seen the last of me." See? Told you guys I had a big mouth. She turned back and got in my face screaming at me and when I touched her on the shoulder -- to create a little personal space -- she flipped me around and cuffed me for resisting arrest and battery on a police officer. Everything was later reduced and not prosecuted because everyone knew it had been exaggerated. A month later, I got in trouble again because my pool shark idiot of a boyfriend at the time (part of the wrong pack) was beginning to reveal what a true pig he really was by picking on a war vet in a wheelchair and, just maybe, I had had a little wee too much to drink and I may have broken a pool stick (it was already cracked) over his incredibly dense head when he said something incredibly disgusting and offensive to the older drunk guy. Chris, the pool shark, laughed it off and slapped me on my jean pocket. But a girl who was eyeing him for herself (don't ask me why now because I have no idea what I saw in him) called the cops to get rid of me. I got charged with misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct (I may have yelled some choice words at that girl when the police arrived). I'm lucky to remember that much since it was nearly 25 years ago. I was 21 years old.

I'm going to celebrate my 46th birthday next month. Since then, I've summered in the south of France for two years, backpacked through Europe, edited my college newspaper, landed a job in the best newsroom in the world (from which I was never fired), won two team Pulitzer Prizes and a couple of Society of Professional Journalism "Green Eyeshade" awards, interviewed presidents and human rights activists, got married in Cuba and worked for 14 months to get my husband out of that island prison, had a baby (she's now 11 and I am going to have to have a little chat with her tomorrow because she reads my blog from time to time and I don't want to tell her not to... yes, that's all you did, alcaldito and Gavelgirl. Hope you are real proud of yourselves), got my mother-in-law out of Cuba, got a divorce, lost 150 pounds, started writing the next, great Cuban-American novel, took a buyout and left the newspaper, launched a media consulting business, failed miserably at that business, launched a website (which was more my thing), started this blog (which is most my thing) and moved back in with my wonderful, incredibly patient parents because I am most definitely not being paid by anyone to write this.

I have never committed any kind of fraud, like the alcaldito and Gavelgirl do daily. I have never hurt anyone, like they and the rest of the council did Thursday when they voted on that incredibly false budget that calls for firing 105 firefighters. I may not be proud of every little misstep in my life's travels, but I also have no regrets. I never sealed or expunged any of my records because I always felt that would lead folks to imagine far more serious infractions. "Suuuure it was just marijuana possession," I envisioned people saying if they found an expunged criminal record and thought it had to be something worse -- probably because that's what I would think.

My mistakes are my medals -- not your little found treasure, alcaldito -- and that's why I took them back from you. And I wear them proudly and transparently because they make me who I am today, but also because I am responsible and accountable for my actions.

I wish everybody, including the Hialeah council members, would be also.


  1. Madame Ladra, to me you are a good person and a very courage one, some time we disagree in our viewpoints and candidates running for offices. Be careful because we have bad people in our society. Candela,tu amigo dice.

  2. Keep the pressure. You have them cornered and the are ficious. You need to keep an eye on them they will continue to attack.

  3. I see no nexus between what your history is and what is currently happening in my home town. This is what they do, since they are crooks they deviate from the questions and attack others? I was born and raised in Hialeah and currently I am raising my family in Hialeah. Since we live in the West we are not as targeted by the politicians to vote. My parents who live in the East are bombarded by flyers, visits, telephone calls etc.. This year my wife and I will vote for a change ( a complete change in City Hall) and we are not alone! I have grown up with a lot of the individuals that are currently on this council and have gone to school with some of them. It is no secret that some that are currently on this counsel have serious drug and alcohol problems. Former Mayor Robaina also has a history of drug use; this is common knowledge in the community. Why don’t they impose the random drug testing policy? In addition it is also common knowledge that while serving as a police officer Carlos Hernandez was buying steroids from a local (Hialeah born) steroid supplier!! I urge them to finish next 45 days as quietly as possible and not to make any more decisions that will affect my children in the long run. It is no secret that they will be replaced come November 2011. Stay strong Ladra!!

  4. What the Council fails to realize is that their illegal and criminal acts will not be ignored by the people(or for that matter the federal government). They claim they want to save the city money by laying off firefighters but it's quite the opposite. Almost all of the firefighters that they plan to get rid of were hired by federal grant money and if they continue with their plan, they will have to pay the Feds back almost 2 millions dollars for this ridiculous move. Does that sound like saving money to you? Also, the reduction in the fire department will cause overtime to fill the missing positions(which causes more needless spending on the city's part). But then again, it was never really about financial savings for the mayor and his council. They are out for blood.

  5. Why were you fired from the herald?

  6. You are a pot head!!! Go take a drug test and show all your 20 readers that you still smoke pot!!!
    Resisting arrest!!! Wow!!!

  7. "You will be avenged," sweareth the Lickerpoet. My poetic sword will be at the throats of those that have soiled thy good name.

    To bring up past indiscretions that are not pertinent to the issue at hand, well, this only demonstrates that they can not defend themselves in the here and now. They must scurry back to a distant past for comfort and cover. Who amongst us would choose to be defined today by our words and actions from our petulant youth?
    You are a grown woman,Ladra, and have taken responsibility for your actions. My only regret is that your daughter reads this blog. No, that's not exactly right. My regret is that those who post comments on this blog, don't realize that your 11 year old daughter will be reading their comments. Perhaps with this knowledge they would limit their comments to the political issues at hand, and not rumor and innuendo about personal relationships.
    This reminds me of the time I posted a political poem about a past Miami-Dade Commissioner, Larry Hawkins, who had exposed himself to an associate and groped another (allegedly). I posted on my sign:

    Larry Hawkins
    Dropped his pants
    Wiggled his lance
    Re-Election, No chance

    A very handsome young man, red haired and slender, actually a customer of mine at the time; introduced himself to me. He was Larry Hawkin's son. I immediately took down my message. By accepting a public position, you agree to be publicly critiqued. I have no problem attacking a politician, but attacking someone's father. Somehow that feels different.
    Ladra is not a public figure, and she should be allowed a modicum of personal privacy. She is also someone's mother. And I would thank you all to remember that, and your own mom, when you comment on issues that should remain on the public and political plane, and not on a personal one.

  8. How about all of Robaina kids that read her bullshit accusation !!!! How about that asshole!!

  9. He's a public figure. She isn't. Politicians and their families and friends need to accept that. Dip shit.

  10. She should be honest with her daughter on all of her mistake. She is a fake!! A liar!!! Now tell us why you were fired?

  11. Clearly you don't read this blog. She's already explained this on another comment thread and even addressed this issue in this post at length. Can we ever move on please? People keep bringing this up and it's just getting boring and annoying now. If anyone has a new line of attack I would greatly appreciate it. Right now you're all coming across as Hernandez clowns who he told to go comment here because again the firing issue is dead and it's really annoying to read. If you know why she was fired, then by all means please share and stop using it as a (by now) cheap attack.

  12. Ladra loves the lickerpoet, but I think I agreed to be publicly critiqued when I appointed myself the public watchdog. While the indiscretions certainly do not have any bearing on the issues and are not a legitimate answer to legitimate questions I ask that the mayor and council choose to ignore, it was almost expected that they would try to kill the messenger because, as you said, they have no other defense. And I am very honest with my daughter and everybody, really. Maybe too honest. And, while I will never admit to being fired because I never was (zzzzzz) I have owned up to my mistakes, as evident above.

    And apparently, so has the alcaldito. He called me back, finally, this morning, and at first denied he had said anything about my record but, when confronted with certainty, apologized and said "it will never happen again." Apology accepted. But I am still doing a public records request at the police department.

    And I would gladly take a drug test if the council members take one, too. In fact, I believe it's in the charter that they are required to take one on regular intervals. That could clear up some OTHER allegations about at least two of our electeds. And I will have the decency not to name them -- but everybody knows who they are.

    How can we make that happen? I'll pee if they pee.

  13. Ladra,

    Welcome to the club. When you beat their brains out with the message, the only thing they can try to do is kill the messenger. Once that fails, it's your game. Stay strong, and give them hell!

    Your fellow troublemaker,

    Al Crespo

  14. No firefighters would be laid off if the greedy fire union would agree to pay cuts. But they would rather see their brothers on the street than reduce their pay. Put the blame where it belongs ... on the greedy firefighters.

  15. To the poster above me, your an idiot like the mayor and his moron council. Don't speak on matters that you know nothing of.

  16. Of course its the firefighters' fault. They wrecklessly spent the enormous rainy day fund the previous administration left them, gave juicy, no bid contracts to their campaign contributors, spent millions building unnecessary water plants and pump stations that don't work. How stupid are those firefighters? Couldn't they see this day would come?

  17. dear Ladra, they say when they hate you, is a sort of admiration, to attack and black mail people with their past, is low, and speaks as to the low character of the person doing it, everyone makes mistakes and you are human, so the past is gone.
    I know you will not let them get away with it!!!

  18. Why were you fired?????????????????????

  19. News flash Julio Robaina is NO LONGER a public figure DIP SHIT!....

  20. Every newspaper editor received your post this morning. Welcome to America!!!! Let's play ball, this is going to be fun......

  21. Julio Robaina is a rich and happy man. To bad I can't say the same for you DIP SHIT. How does it feel to live check to check and can only dream of financial security.

  22. I hear your home is bing foreclosed on Elaine?

  23. Elaine what is up with senior BOLANOS???????? We know

  24. Fired reporter please do not get arrested again for resisting arrest or disorderly conduct. You criminal. All the police are aware of your past now, so behave.

  25. This is crazy. Once again, what does it matter about anyone's past when it's irrelevant to the issues at hand? Anyone posting negatively is obviously part of the coverup. Hialeah has made the City of Miami's fiasco look like a JV team. When will the council see how they're embarrassing the name of the city and the honest people they've left behind? Unreal.

  26. I can't believe the hernandez supporters have taken to attacking a reporter's blog. You guys have reached a new low for yourselves but represent your Lords perfectly.

  27. ...and as for her getting arrested again... are you serious? Local police LOVE her around here, only tossed her out last night because they were ordered to. If it were up to anyone but that joke of a dais she would have had an hours time on that podium. You and your bosses don't stand a chance in a battle of wits, truth, and integrity.

  28. Robaina is a public figure? Are you kidding me he is a public thief, cocaine users, and soon to be ex-con. I am sure that his kids know that and all of the prestige guys he hangs out with or are they not friends anymore. Now that would depend on if they are making money or not. They all need to spend some time behind bars. It's time that we clean up the streets of Hialeah and the disgrace that starts from City Hall.

  29. Garcia, Hernandez Either one is better than the devil!!!

  30. Public thief? Cocaine user/seller?? Ex-Con??? I think you confused Robaina for CONVICTED CRIMINAL RAUL MARTINEZ!!! And what about the Prestige guys??? What's wrong JR your confusing your Dad with Julio??? Don't make that mistake Robaina actually knows how to make money in the private sector and didn't extort anyone while in office to make money in real estate like dear old DAD!!!

  31. --> Anonymous. Yes, I am an asshole. I admit it freely and without duress. Actually this is the central tenet of my personal philosophy.

    The word according to Lickerpoet.

    We are all an asshole to someone else in this world.

    You can pick any person held in the highest regard by some; and there will always be others who consider that highly regarded person an asshole. This is just the nature of mankind. Take Mother Teresa for instance, some consider her saintly. She cared for the impoverished ill in Calcutta, India. She also believed that it was good for her patients to suffer, that pain and suffering brought them closer to the non-historical experience of her mythological savior. Others should suffer because of her own personal beliefs. Mother Teresa was an asshole.

    Ahh, but I have digressed. The issue at hand was whether discussing a private individual's personal history in a forum that might be observed by their family; if that somehow equates with chastising a public figure, a mayor, for activities committed in the public venue.

    Clearly alcohol consumption was a factor in Ladra's ancient misdeeds. As a purveyor of this toxic beverage, I have much experience with people who have crossed the line of acceptable behavior under the influence; but the big difference in this sort of crime is that there was no initial criminal intent. Ladra didn't start her raucous evening expecting to break a cue stick over someone's head, or to insert it where the moon don't shine. (Sorry, Ladra, forgot that your daughter might read this.)

    When Robaina looked at his real estate tax statement every year, year after year, the one for the "vacant" property that actually had a shopping center on it; this was a conscious choice to break the law, repeatedly. This was not a case of alcohol induced bad judgment.

    When Robaina chose to hire his mistress, at the public expense of the citizenry, to a fairly high paid position, and then installed her daughter as a council person, though she didn't live in the city; ROBAINA PUT HIS SHIT IN THE WIND. (Sorry again, Ladra. I do not like to use profanity, unless it is the only verbiage that absolutely fits the thought to be expressed.)
    If there are any shameful acts of Robaina's that I should feel any compunction about expressing in public...these shameful acts were of Robaina's doing. Robaina brought dishonor onto himself and his family.

    To put things in a different perspective. At least when Raul was banging Gilda (allegedly), at least she was already in the employ of the city. His conjugal convenience did not cost the city any additional money.

  32. Hey ladra,

    If we investigate a little more, who knows what else may pop-up?

  33. 1. Marijuana pocession
    2. Battery on a police officer
    3. Disorderly conduct
    4. traveling to Cuba an marrying a convict
    5. cocaine pocession
    Great resume,should be working for President Obama

  34. With all the men in miami why did u go to Cuba and get hitched. Are you that bad

  35. I need some weed. Can u get me some?

  36. AHA !!!!! Moment !!!!! Now I understand why you
    You vigorously back candidates whom themselves
    Have horrible criminal records like Raul "THE BULL"
    Martinez and Danny "THE ROGUE" Bolanos. Criminal
    Birds of a feather will always stick together!
    So did you meet Helga in the big house ?

  37. To the average concerned citizen the role that both Elaine and Al Crespo play is critically important to us. Especially with our local reporters opting to take jobs in other areas leaving little to no coverage of local issues.

    There are serious issues going on in Hialeah that will impact the county in one way or another. It is a shame to see what was once a great city that had anything you need and the best city services relegated to what it is now.

    Whatever she did in the past has no relevance to the issues she is presenting to us. It's either true or false. If immature posts and attacks is the best response then she is on the money with her observations.

    I am happy to be a taxpayer and super-voter and lifelong resident of Miami Dade County. The inane comments and childish statments have no meaning to me.

    To all of the bloggers who have given of themselves to report the misdeeds within out county, thank you. We are better because of it. Even better when we remove the disgraced policians on election day.

    As for the firefighters, the ones attacking them are the vocal minority. Many of us are appreciative of their hardwork and differences they make in the quality of life for many of our residents. To that I say thank you.

  38. @Lickerpoet:
    Do you have personal knowledge that Mr. Robaina looked at the tax bills??? I know you run a SMALL business but I am sure your assistants do some of the heavy lifting for you, AND I am sorry to say none of us really know by whom and when these bills were paid. As for the accusation that he was sleeping with Ms.Cue this isn't anybody's business except Mrs. Robaina and if you are so concerned AND HAVE PROOF I am sure you can find her and give it to her and not just spread rumors on a blog. I understand that you and Ms. Ladra have a special obsession with Mr. Robaina and I can't say I blame you but please, Mr. Robaina may have cost the city money but did you forget that Mayor Martinez cost the city millions with the trials,special elections AND back pay and legal fees he was given??? Let's not try to compare Mr. Robaina with Mr. Martinez. Mr Robaina he has neither dishonored himself nor his family because like you said being an asshole is a matter of opinion and the only opinion that matters is the ones from the people you care about and last I checked Mr Robaina has NEVER be indicted or convicted (too bad for you that be investigated is not a crime or has the law changed?). You are great Mr. Poet really but let's stick to things we have personal knowledge of not rumors. Like I said if you have personal knowledge of wrong doing take it to the FEDS I am sure they are waiting for it. If not you are just one more of the "we are just waiting for him to get indicted" HATERS!! On another note the Mother Teresa thing was very funny please forgive me if I steal it........

  39. Mr. Robaina did bring dishonor to his family. Do not be naïve and believe for one minute that he kept his pecker in his pants. After all everyone knows why his second marriage ended and why he married his former secretary and present wife. That was a close call between the present dept head and former 1st lady. I bet if the rumors about another individual(non city employee) are true he kept on trying to bed a certain difficult lady to no avail. The former mayor should have spent more time on city matters than chasing after that amazing ass. It’s a shame this entire fiasco is being placed on the employees doorstep it should be placed were it squarely belongs; on the council and the present and former mayor.

  40. This blog sucks. It is run by a convicted criminal who has an axe to grind. Hey likerpoet, quit kissing the firefighters butt. We know that Hialeah has been run by the mafia since mayor Milander and Raul Martinez learn from the best.

  41. To Ladra and other readers,

    First of all, I would like to state that I love reading this blog. I enjoy the way you write, even though I do not agree with everything you say. As a former reporter, I think you need to be a little more objective when it comes to writing about the issues and the candidates. Calling someone a "Gavel Girl" or "Alcaldito", while you call others "Professor". It shows that you may have something to gain by diminishing these guys. However, because you are now a blogger, you do have the right to your opinion. I do not believe that your personal issues are of anyone's business but your own...especially not that of your daughter. If she needs to know something about you, it should come from you and no one else. Besides, what someone did 25 years ago, should not be brought up now. However, if they are politicians, they should at least own up to their past and move on and make sure that they do not commit the same acts in the long as they are in politics anyway. I have no idea how many people read this blog, but again, I think it should be a little more objective. You never speak ill about Raul or Rudy. I'm sure they have plenty of skeletons in their closets as well and deserve to be treated in the same way. Because from where I stand, and I'm sure I'm not alone, this makes you look like you have something to gain or that you are getting paid by the opposing candidates...or maybe you truly feel this way about the people you speak about. As much as you disliked them bringing up your personal issues publicly, these people have families as well...children. Having said that, they are public figures and chose to be in this line of work, therefore they must assume the consequences that come with the job.

    About the firefighters...In the little town where I come from, we have no paid firefighters. They are all volunteers and truly love what they do. I agree that Hialeah is a big city and cannot rely on volunteers to protect their resident's well-being. Yet, in this economy, no one should be getting a raise. I don't care what you do for a living, this is no time to be handing out raises, especially at the expense of tax payers. These tax payers can barely afford to pay their mortgage and their insurance, vehicle registration, kids schools, groceries...People should be grateful to have a job. Firefighters make a good living, better than most actually. I think it's too late to ask them to be volunteers in their city, but they could at least accept that they have a job that pays very well. Most companies are not raising their employees salary this year. It sucks, because people who work hard, should be compensated for that work, just not now in this economy. Maybe the Mayor and Council should take a look at some of the other city employees. You'll have to agree that there are plenty of useless city workers and tons of badly spent tax money. The firefighters need to swallow their pride and get off their high-horse and accept the fact that there is no money for a raise...for anybody! I certainly hope that whoever wins this race, has the knowledge and the real concern for their residents. The people of Hialeah are a very outspoken bunch as they should be. More cities should care as much as they do. They want to see their beautiful city succeed in all areas. The politicians should care as much as the residents and should all work together instead of bashing each other left and right.

    P.S. I enjoyed reading what lickerpoet wrote as well...wonderful writing!

  42. Anyone who supports Robaina or Hernandez needs their heads examined. Those two men(along with their council members) need to be thrown in jail for all of their criminal activities. I don't understand how any of you can be so stupid and not realize what scams they are trying to pull. They already tried firing 16 firefighters and look how well that turned out. The city's finances is public record, yet Hernandez and his dingleberries try to hide what's really going on by trying to convince the people that it's all the employees faults. If you are jealous of what the firefighters benefits are why don't you get off your lazy entitled asses and try to do what they do? No, you just want to fan your cucas all day and take well deserved benefits away from people simply because you are jealous.

  43. Señores(as)de Hialeah,quien de todos los que leemos este blog no tiene un pasado un poco tinieblo? "EL QUE NO TIENE PECADO QUE TIRE LA PRIMERA PIEDRA" fue lo que dijo jesus, cuando muchos quisieron lapidar a Maria Magdalena,pero lo ironico, es que muchos de los que querian matarla seguro habian utilizado sus servicios,señores no seamos HIPOCRITAS en alguna ocasion muchos de nosotros hemos tomado de mas, y hemos manejado hasta llegar a la casa,otros hemos fumado marihuana,otros nos hemos divertido pagandole a una mujer de la vida alegre, otros hemos inhalado cocaina, y somos un padre o madre abnegado(a)trabajamos cuarenta horas a la semana nos relacionas muy bien con nuestros vecinos y somos ciudadanos con todas las de la ley.
    Ladra no esta corriendo por un asiento,asi que lo de su pasado nos debe tener sin cuidado, es mas aplaudo su honestidad,ojala muchos politicos tubieran un 10 porciento de lo que esta mujer tiene (COJONES),y ser dueña de su pasado.
    No desviemos,la mirada de lo que en realidad nos deberia interesar y es a quien vamos a elejir para que nos gobierne,ahhh para terminar...Ladra deberias pedir una carta en EL MIAMI HERALD donde conste que tu no fuiste despedida, y la coloques en tu blog, por que el comentario tan constante ABURRE...espera... se me ocurre una idea mejor, coloca un sensor en el blog que te indique que un cretino quiere entrar ha comentar la misma tonteria.Ladra sigue adelante,se fuerte y ten cuidado,no estas tratando con ciudadanos que solo quieren correr por un asiento para ayudar a la ciudad,sino con una maquinaria corrupta, y egocentrica donde solo quieren saborear el poder y llenar el saco de la ambicion para su beneficio.Termino repitiendo con lo que comence "EL QUE NO TIENE PECADO QUE TIRE LA PRIMERA PIEDRA" y las personas que estaban apunto de tirarlas empezaron a irse... sigue adelante mi perra fiel.

  44. Elaine, 

    Drugs and violence, I have to admit I am little surprised. For someone who so easily threw around phrases like "pending indictments", it's surprising that you would be hypocritical enough to pronounce criminal actions against people who have no evidence against them (you also claim to be innocent of battery and you ALSO deserve the benefit of a doubt). 

    If you want to be taken SERIOUSLY and not be treated as a campaign OPERATIVE, then start showing atleast faux objectivity. Where are the articles on Raul?? You claim to loathe absentee ballots, write an article about the man who practically wrote the book on absentee ballot fraud in 1993. Is it professional and logical to continually demean a man, Carlos Hernandez, and then expect him to respect and listen to you? I'll give you credit for atleast calling him alcaldito to his face but that also shows how warped you've become in this race.

    I frankly don't know what to make of you anymore. I really thought at first that you were nothing more than a paid political hack blogger. Over time I have come to believe that you are neither a hack nor paid to be a blogger. Now, though, I am beginning to think that you are bordering on psychotic. You really believe the political campaign trash you publish. You write that the average firefighter makes $70K. Why do you not publish the real pay distribution with overtime? Starting firefighters in Hialeah are among the worse paid in the county. So how does the average bloat to $70K? Because the department is top heavy! Why don't you publish that there are more firefighters making over $100K than any other department in Hialeah. The average deputy city attorney, with a law degree and experience, only makes $50K. The head of the planning and zoning department doesn't even make $75K. No one WANTS to fire ANYBODY!!!! Grow up and realize that every other union has made MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR concessions. Pico and Johnson, put your egos aside and your PS3 controllers down at the station, and make real concessions. Hernandez is not a psychopath. Because thats what you would need to be to lie about the city finances for the purpose of ruining people's families. This is not revenge it's negotiation! Also, stop with the bullshit of illegal procedure on the negotiation, that's exactly what this country desperately needs, someone who is willing to fight and stand up to the unions (look at Wisconsin as an example). The public wants a fair settlement. Police and AFSCME did it. Policemen risk their lives daily, just like the firefighters do, perhaps even more so!!

     No one is against firefighters!!! Their against a bloated union negotiated contract. This is not a vocal minority folks, looks at anyone's polls. The public is fed up with unions, across the country and even in Hialeah. Remember the average Hialeah resident makes less than $40K. Asking them to sympathize with the current salaries is a losing proposition. 

    Lickerpoet, I am also seriously disappointed in you. Making claims of affairs on this board against a guy who is out of politics. Lambast him for his politics and governing dont drag his family out. I expect that from the Raul minions and sycophants, not from someone like you.

    Lastly, realtruthofmiami is not dead, just been a bit busy. After I publish the next story, I wonder whether you will still feel the same way about your chosen side.

  45. Elaine keep exposing those scumbags who run the city

  46. What are the firefighters asking for in their contract that they are not willing to give up or what is it that the city wants that the firefighters are not willing to give up?

  47. "Yet, in this economy, no one should be getting a raise."

    Plenty have received raises in this economy. It just isn't the working/middle class.

    "The public is fed up with unions, across the country and even in Hialeah."

    See my reply above. The public better start chumming up to unions or else we will surely have a society made up of haves and have-nots. Sadly, many of the have-nots are the ones now throwing the rocks at the unions. Historically, wage-earners in this country earned much more when unions were at their height. And don't start with that tired line "unions killed the auto industry". Bullshit. The crappy ass designs that management decided to build killed the US auto industry, K-cars, X-cars, etc. Garbage. In fact, at the time the unions were telling the company that their designs were crap.

  48. Anonymous above, the public is only going to move more to the right in the interim. It's a pendulum, which will of course, swing back. Unions are an important part of our economy and have historically brought workers great protections and advancements. Unfortunately, since the late 1960's the unions have made significant power grabs across the spectrum. I agree, the collapse of the American auto market had more to do with bad management than just the UAW. But, the UAW did contribute to their collapse. Like I've said on previous posts, this is a macroeconomic issue. Our economy has gone from a manufacturing and labor intensive marketplace to one of service and capital. That means, in the short term, a loss of manufacturing jobs and a reshaping of the labor market. Unions haven't caught on and have been slow to move. 

    The average worker in the private sector has had a lost DECADE.   In the public sector, even without longevity raises in the last couple years, the system of annual raises has created an imbalance between public and private sector employees. Historically, public sector employees have been paid less than their private counterparts but have the advantages of job security and adequate pensions. Unfortunately, due to our lost decade the general population sees the public sector employees now making more while still enjoying the aforementioned advantages. That breeds envy and anger, by you guessed it, the lowest tier of worker (which historically have been the most ardent supporters of unions).

    An additional point, the unions have also lost credibility with the public because they usually do not look out for their entire membership. They protect their highly paid employees, that have seniority and positions of power in the union, instead of bargaining for ALL their members. 

    This entire debacle can be ended by the responsible parties sitting down and hammering out an equitable solution. 

  49. A leopard cannot change his spots. Yes, this is one of the more overused phrases in our modern lexicon, but if the shoe fits, wear it. (Oh, the banality of it all.)

    How do you judge a person, by their words or by their deeds? Though this may seem narrow minded or short sighted in some instances, you best judge a person by their track record. You judge another by the person they have been, not the person they wish they had been.

    That Ladra may have had a problem with alcohol, and anger issues, and a painful bladder infection; well this was 25 years ago. If she was involved in a similar altercation today; involving alcohol and anger; we might now jump to the conclusion, perhaps without basis, that it was probably her fault, because she has a history, however distant; a track record, of this type behavior. But the present altercation did not involve highballs or cue balls, it revolved around public information requests. True that Ladra can be a ball buster at times, but what is a watch dog without a bite? But if you wish to brand Ladra forever for mistakes made in her wild youth, fine. Its not sweat off my (cue) balls. If you ever go out and shoot pool with Ladra, and she's had a couple of drinks, well, if you don't want to turn your back on her...heck, I can understand that.

    Now let us contrast Ladra's track record with that of the now private person, Julio A Robaina, whom I have been accused of unfairly lambasting. I quote below from the Final Order from the Florida Dept of Business and Professional Regulation case #'s 93-84955 and 94-80704.

    Based upon the foregoing, the Respondent Julio A Robaina is guilty of dishonest dealing by trick, scheme or device, culpable negligence, or breach of trust in any business transaction in violation of 475.25 (1)(b) guilty of failure to account or deliver trust funds in violation of 475.25 (1)(d) guilty of failure to maintain trust funds in the real estate brokerage escrow bank account or some other proper depository until disbursement thereof was properly authorized in violation of 475.25 (1)(k) guilty of failure to comply with a subpoena in violation of ...has failed to maintain the books, accounts and records pertaining to the broker's real estate violation of the Fla. Admin. Code...

    How do you judge a man again? By his track record. Is the man described above the type that you would trust with your municipal funds? Is he the one you would trust to invest $162 million in a new water plant? Is he the one you would trust to base the employment decisions of your union members solely on his word concerning the financial stability of the city?
    Can a leopard ever change its spots? It is not for me to judge. That is why we have grand juries....and that still out.

  50. Responder, or Ana, there is no planning director position in the 2012 budget, perhaps that is why the planning and zoning official, as it is termed, is at $72,000. But there is a also a planning board specialist that makes $47,000 to take some of the workload. And that department pays 25 percent of a "mayor's liaison" $38,000 salary -- a new position, I think, for either Jonathan Martinez or Arnie Alonso -- where 25 percent also comes out of code enforcement, ocupational license and building departments. The director of the department of education and community service salary is $91,000 and a recreational supervisor in the same department and a recreational "special programs" supervisor make about $68,000 each. Who are these people and what do they do? An "education special programs director" (do we really need two) is budgeted at $50,000 and a "literacy program director" (I kid you NOT) is budgeted with a $54,000 salary. Doesn't say in the budget what his or her salary was last year. These are great positions to be able to fund, but not at the cost of firefighter paramedics. Another new position is the building official, a title to which the senior building plan processor was promoted, with a salary of $96,000. This person's former salary in the last position, where he or she was performing these duties, is not listed in the budget. But Ladra is curious so we will ask. I would go on with other examples, but I will leave those for a post to come.

    I will say that I have asked for the salaries of the firefighters and expect to get them faster than I get most things (have also asked to see personnel records for the two aformentioned gentlemen, like, a week or more ago, but that won't come quickly). But the budget does reflect that the fire chief, who has been awfully silent about this plan to cut 40 percent of his staff, makes $131,000 and the assistant chief make $114,000. Three battalion chiefs make $364,720 between them, so that's about $121,500 each and four division chiefs making about $105,00 each. But none of these guys are going to get fired, I bet. Not that they should These guys are in those positions because they have worked decades and they make policy and operational decisions that affect hundreds of workers and hundreds of thousands of residents.

    It's especially not a lot when you consider that the mayor makes $190,000 and the man who wrote this funny money budget for him makes $118,000. By the way, that department has another divided position... a "purchasing/property director" not budgeted last year with an $80,000 salary -- 25 percent of which comes out of the office of management and budget and 75 percent of which comes out of "affordable housing fund."

    Told you the budget director was overpaid.

  51. Elaine,

    Keep guessing, I've already told you no on that assumption... The planning and zoning official is one person who runs the whole P&Z department. That position in any other city makes over $100K since they have usually hold degrees in architecture or city planning (Mrs. Storch holds one from UM). The city has dropped four positions from P&Z and code from last year. The Building Official position last year was vacant because he had retired and his replacement was named to it on a temporary basis. The building official is a department head and is responsible for all building permits within the city. In most other cities this is also a $100K+ position. Imagine, there are firefighters who (once you get a copy of their records) make more than the man responsible for ensuring that what gets built in the city is done correctly. Funny how you didn't mention what I wrote about the deputy city attorneys. 

    The budget director is adequately compensated, even if I may agree with you that he may not be very capable (see we can agree). Elaine, I can walk you through the budget but instead have Raul do it. He knows that ALL employees in HIS city are comparatively underpaid to their counterparts in other cities. Even considering that, AFSCME and Police took their cuts. Fire needs to do the same. Your comments on the top tier of the fire department are exactly the problem. The firefighters who would get fired will come from the lowest ranks. The fire union needs to do the right thing and get back to the table. Heck, I'll even put the bloody meeting together ;)

    Also, your former publication had a great article on the public pension problem and had a picture of YOUR chosen candidate. $190K for the mayor sounds high but remember their is no city manager. But wait, how does $400K for Raul Martinez as mayor sound??

  52. @ Lickerpoet
    Do you realize that what you are quoting in your response from the DBPR actually happened 20 years ago????? I guess Elaine gets special treatment.. So Elaine can learn and grow in 20 years and NOT Robaina??? AND please you haven't the slightest idea what happened and neither do I BUT I am sure that it was a mistake LIKE all the mistake we make when we are young SO PLEASE STOP ATTACKING someone who you obviously DO NOT KNOW!!

  53. Because you wrote about deputy city attorneys in other cities and blah blah blah... irrelevant.

    What is relevant is that there are a lot of botella positions, that's right and YOU know it, that could be eliminated first before one single firefighter. Not that I want anyone to get fired. But there are jobs created there for cronies and everybody knows it. How is it possible that Arnie Alonso can work in the city and ALSO be a representative of Carlos Hernandez's campaign? Puh-leeeze. No te hagas.

    And you know very well that the council there is squandering funds on cronies and political favors for campaign contributors. In fact, it's DOCUMENTABLE. Take the companies on the consent agenda just from the last meeting and find not one, not two, but 23 requests to waive the bid process (they didn't think anyone was looking because there were 11 at the last meeting and I don't know how many dozens of others in meetings in previous months, but I am certainly looking t them NOW). Then cross check them with campaign finance reports. Lo and behold. How pathetic, and, I believe, criminal. This will be forwarded to the state attorneys office. Along with the change orders like the $150,000 increase for a construction company that bundled $4,500 in contributions to Julio Robaina's failed campaign for county mayor.

    I didn't mention the deputy city attorneys in other cities because it's a far reach and you are just trying to waste my time. But you don't mention the no-bid contracts and the quid pro quo and promotions and created positions given to lackies and cronies and, perhaps, campaign volunteers. Why is that? Let's put the focus where it should be, shall we?

  54. Regarding the ridiculous pension that is wrong. Yes, Martinez gets a pension he earned in what? 24 or 26 years as councilman and mayor. Regardless of whether you or I believe he should have earned such a huge pension, he did get it already. He will keep earning it if he is not elected and whoever is mayor will get the huge, ridiculous $190,000 salary anyway. So not electing him saves NOTHING. It is a ridiculous argument. We already know that el alcaldito makes a $50-$60K pension from his police job. Wonder what Rudy Garcia's pension from the state is. These will still be paid no matter who is elected. So can we stop that silly argument already?

  55. Kiss ass pothead!!!

  56. Great posting... dont sweat it to much. These clowns wont be around past November.

  57. Will see soon enough clown... wont we.

  58. Ladra,
    I could give a shit about your arrests - their are just minor bullshit which sometimes happens while young, and having too much fun. I'm glad you wrote about it proudly. And, I can't wait to se you future posts about the legalization of marijuana - something whose time has come.
    However, my only objection to your post is that a good stoner doesn't smoke and tell. You are free to say you smoked, but not to "out" anyone you smoked with. Not nice.


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